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Conversational structures with If

Posted By Manjusha, Filed in English Speaking

If … should; if … happen to

We use these structures to talk about events and situations that are very unlikely.

  • If you should finish early, give me a ring.
  • OR If you should happen to finish early, give me a ring.
  • If he should be late, we will leave without him.
  • OR If he should happen to be late, we will leave without him.
If … was/were to

This is another way of talking about unreal or imaginary future events.

  • If the boss was/were to come in now, we would be in real trouble. (=If the boss came in now, …)

This structure is also used to make a suggestion sound more polite.

  • If you were to move your chair a bit, we could all sit down.
If I were you …

This structure is often used to give advice.

  • If I were you, I would get that car serviced.

If I was you … is also possible.

If only

If only …! means the same as I wish… We use If only …! to say that we would like things to be different.

  • If only I was better-looking.

We can use were instead of was.

  • If only I were better-looking.

Note that after If only …! we use past tenses to talk about the present.

  • If only I was/were richer.

To refer to the future we use would + infinitive.

  • If only somebody would help!

To refer to the past, we use had + past participle.

  • If only she hadn’t told the police, everything would have been all right.

Sections In This Article
Conversational structures with let
Conversational structures with need
Conversational structures with used to
Conversational structures with had better
Conversational structures with feel
Conversational structures with going to
Conversational structures with in case




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